When explorers of yore spent their careers searching for the Northwest Passage, they certainly didn't have GPS, satellite phones and accurate maps (without sea monsters on them) to ease their way. Now, thanks to global warming opening up the Arctic, the top of the world has also become more navigable, and a group of intrepid sailors is documenting their journey through Web 2.0.
The Open Passage Expedition is using the power of blogs, Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about climate change. They're using GPS equipment from Blue Sky Network and Iridium satellite phones to file real-time reports on snowfall, ice conditions, the state of forests and the ports they call on. The crew is piloting a 40-foot yacht, the Silent Sound.
"As far as we know, we are the first 'Twitter-ers' to use the service while sailing through the Arctic," said Cameron Dueck, Captain of the Open Passage Expedition. "We are amazed at how easy it is to document everything we are encountering and immediately share it with the rest of the world."
In another corner of the world, environmentalists are taking action against illegal palm oil planters. According to Reuters, a "chainsaw-wielding alliance led by the Aceh Conservation Agency (BPKEL), Acehnese NGOs, and police teams are sweeping tens of thousands of hectares of illegal palm from the 2.5 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem."
Indonesia's tropical forests are some of the world's most diverse, and are increasingly threatened by a booming population and numerous extractive industries.
Check out the Sustainable Palm Oil Symposium's live webcast tonight (September 24) at 7 pm EST, hosted by Seventh Generation, Whole Foods and the Rainforest Action Network, over at Ustream. Don't worry if you miss it, it will be archived for one year on the site.
Closer to home, Newsweek has ranked a list of America's 500 largest corporations according to how they fare on the environment (well at least according to their methodology). The top five are HP, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Intel and IBM.
Hardcore greens are likely to raise their eyebrows at many of the listings, given past wrongs, but as GOOD points out, it is certainly useful to have information on the green goings-on among multinationals. Maybe it will stimulate more open discussion, as well as action on the part of corporate America.
Another tool that hopes to make it easier to examine our impact on climate change is the World Carbon Database (WCD), which just launched as "the world's first integrated database for carbon offset credits and carbon reduction credits." So far TerraPass, BEF (Bonneville Environmental Foundation) and Native Energy have signed on to offer their clients the opportunity to be listed in the WCD. From the release:
WCD, a non-profit open resource, uses proprietary data collection tools at the point of sale to archive customer and product data, and is a single comprehensive source for data about carbon credit purchases and purchasers. WCD's database will provide the basis for consistent, in-depth and up-to-the-minute analysis of consumer activity in the emerging carbon markets. The WCD anticipates that its market data will support decision making for carbon management services, policy makers, consumers, and carbon trading operations. WCD's data will also be a source for academic research about the carbon markets. The database found at www.worldcarbondatabase.org is a single source for data about carbon credit purchases and purchasers...The WCD is in discussions with Scripps Institution of Oceanography to create a worldwide educational network anchored by its database. A customized learning portal is already under development that will link WCD members to the science behind climate change.
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